For immediate release
August 26, 2008
Office: (617) 426-1515 Cell: (617) 426-9350
NEW BEDFORD, MA – After more than four dozen workers at Eagle Industries were told by management that they were being terminated and their work was being shifted to Puerto Rico, UNITE HERE filed formal charges against Eagle Industries with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). UNITE HERE charged Eagle Industries with violating federal labor law by retaliating against these workers for their efforts to form a union at the plant. Eagle Industries in New Bedford produces backpacks for the U.S. military.
“They singled us out to be fired because we stood up for our rights and spoke out against the way they treat us,” said Elisa Rios, one of the Eagle workers being laid off. “This really shows why we need a union so we can be protected,” said another Eagle worker. “All we want is to be treated fairly and be able to support our families,” said Eagle workers Lesbi Cerato.
Eagle worker Connie Cardoso noted, “Eagle got big contracts from the federal government. Then they violate our rights and treat us like we are nothing. Shame on them for taking all that taxpayers’ money and then saying they’re going to run away to Puerto Rico.”
For the past several months, after being contacted by workers, UNITE HERE has helped workers at Eagle Industries to organize for better wages, benefits and working conditions. UNITE HERE’s complaint to the NLRB specifically alleges Eagle Industries violated Sections 8(a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act which prohibit employers from punishing workers for exercising their right to organize a union.
Ironically, Eagle Industries issued a news release announcing that the company received an award from the New Bedford City Council for its “contribution to the New Bedford area economy” on the same day it told workers they were losing their jobs as the company moves production to Puerto Rico.
UNITE HERE is a labor union representing 465,000 members in the apparel, textile, hotel, food service, gaming and laundry industries. www.unitehere.org